Often times one of the defining aspects of aging Hip-Hop musicians is a level of adversity. Musicians often times are not able to age gracefully within the cultural parameters of the genre. A very unique quality of Atmosphere is that they faced a very decisive moment in their career of attempting to evolve into a natural phase. The incredible thing is they overcame that presumed adversity. With 2008's "When Life Gives You Lemons," an instrumental and lyrical maturity was achieved over the still-somber previous output. While 2011's "The Family Sign" added a layer of surreal eloquence to the fold. But, while both albums had some incredibly bright moments, there was always an issue of evenness.
That's where "Southsiders" comes in. A full bodied, warm sounding take on the duo's native South Minneapolis and digging deep into what the phrase means. It's an album in which, like its predecessors, acknowledges the fact they're getting older, but without a heavy-handed, melodramatic execution. Age isn't necessarily at the forefront, but rather a factor that simply is. It's a theme often brushed up on lyrically as well as instrumentally--Ant presents some of the most mature, sophisticated production of his career.
In this realization, defining what it means to be a "Southsider" isn't limited to being from South Minneapolis, but rather not always being on the top of life. It's an idea of being in state of existence, letting a relaxed rhymescape that show's Slug rapping more comfortably than ever while fortifying his position as Minnesota's Hip-Hop Statesman. Structurally this lines up a wonderful sense of warmth despite a reminiscent--and even critical look into the past. "Bitter" may be defined comment of critics of the groups success while hinting at what will be continued, but tracks like "Flicker"--and ode to the late, former label mate, and close friend Eyedea--is sorrowful, but faithful homage.
That is ultimately what lies in the strength of "Southsiders", it doesn't sit in one place while know exactly what it wants to say. It's the love letter to South Minneapolis, not necessarily an idealistic letter, but one acknowledging the ups and down of the southsider lifestyle, regardless of geographic location. This ends up making for one of the most consistent and rewarding Atmosphere albums to date.